There are so many incredible dive sites around the world that there are just too many to write down. However if you are looking for beauty, excitement and above all adventure, then here are the Top 5 Dive Destinations of 2016, which should be on any diver’s bucket list.

5. Belize

If you are looking for some adventure, unbelievable diving and maybe a spot of romance, then Belize is the place to go. Not only is this destination affordable, the picturesque, blue waters are teaming with marine life, which will leave you in awe. To divers, Belize is known for its World Heritage Site, that is ‘The Blue Hole.’ A once in a lifetime experience for some, this dive site is not to be missed. Not only will you get to experience reef sharks, you will also be able to observe the wonders of nature in all its glory with the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites that have existed for millions of years. Long Caye Wall is a magnificent diving spot to see towering coral formations and beautiful marine life. Be prepared to see batfish and giant lobster on this dive. Long Caye Wall starts at 10 metres and descends down into the depths of the Caribbean Sea to approximately 914 metres. Another fascinating place to dive in Belize is the Aquarium, which is a dive site that most divers want to repeat over and over again. This dive is usually a little deeper than some of the other dive sites however, is home to abundant schooling fish which include; banded butterfly fish, scrawled filefish, slipper lobster, trumpet fish, honeycomb trunkfish and much much more. If you are looking for an amazing place to visit on your holiday this year, Belize is the place to go.

4. Galapagos Islands

A short plane journey off the coast of Ecuador, Galapagos is an archipelago of volcanic islands scattered either side of the equator. The Galapagos Islands captivated Charles Darwin and inspired his evolutionary research. From the second you get off the plane and get on the ferry to the largest island of Santa Cruz, you can see why the Galapagos Islands are so famous. The sheer diversity of wildlife that exists both on land and in the water is unbelievable. The range of diving within Galapagos is legendary and this should be one of your top destinations to visit this year. Dive with penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays and more. Diving in Gordon Rocks will provide a difficult yet rewarding dive, as you will get to swim with hammerheads, which is a dream for many divers. If you need a break from diving, why not snorkel around kicker rock, which consists of two towering volcanic rocks, which protrude out of the ocean and is home to abundant marine life. It is only a short boat ride from the Island of San Cristobal and should not be missed. If you need a day off and fancy lying on the beach, why not enjoy the walk to Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz, which is a large stretch of white sandy beach, where you can chill next to the beautiful blue waters and watch the marine iguanas as well as the turtles coming up to lay their eggs. Remember to take a hat, as there is very little shade on this beach.

3. Indonesia

This archipelago of over 17,000 islands has diving experiences to suit everyone. If you are obsessed with photography, Indonesia is home to one of the most beautiful and photogenic wrecks in the world. A U.S Liberty-class ship lying just 25 yards off Tulamben’s rocky shore is easily accessible and extremely popular amongst divers. Totally encrusted with anemone, corals and gorgonians, the only word for this site is spectacular. Sitting on a bed of black sand, this dive site provides the perfect colour contrast for the incredible variety of marine life, which includes big-eyed trevally and over 400 other species of fish. If you are looking for healthy reefs and more fish than you can count, then travel east to Raja Amapat, which is home to hundreds of dive sites to take your pick from. Lambeh is home to strange critters as well as beautiful nudibranchs, which is perfect for the maco-divers out there. When you get to Indonesia, you will understand why it is one our top 5 destinations of 2016.

2. Bonaire

Bonaire is a stunning desert island a short distance from the coast of Venezuela. Bonaire is one of the 3 islands that make up the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) located in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The best thing about Bonaire is that you can hardly distinguish the difference between the stunning scenery on land as well as in the water. Bonaire provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to the unparalleled near-shore reefs. You can pretty much gear up anywhere along the coast and see what Bonaire’s underwater world has to offer. With its diverse marine life and its incredible reefs, this location is perfect for our top 5 destinations, so make sure its on your list for this year.

1. Kailua Kona, Hawaii

We just had to add this Manta Ray night dive to our list, because it is a magical experience. If there was one dive that cannot be missed in 2016, this dive would be it. Thousands of people flock to this dive site every year and it is understandable why. If you would like a diving experience like non-other, then Kailua Kona is it. Underwater lights placed on the ocean floor as well as divers underwater torches attract an infinite number of plankton, which in turn attracts the magnificent manta rays of Kona Hawaii. The sheer number of Mantas that arrive at this feeding ground is phenomenal, but be careful, as they like to get so close, you often have to move out of their way to avoid them hitting you. This is an amazing and unforgettable experience with one of the world’s largest and most beautiful marine creatures. Keep an eye out for ‘Lefty’ the Manta Ray with a damaged left cephalic lobe, as she has been there for the past 30 years, using these lit up areas as her feeding ground.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for your post about Top 5 Dive Destinations. Regarding Galapagos Islands, it sound very exciting, but do you have a more detailed itinerary for diving off Santa Cruz without a liveaboard option, and recommendations regarding diving centers to use. My wife is not a diver, so I am looking for some diving day trips off Santa Cruz.
    Thank you again for a good post.

  2. Hello Jennifer,

    Very surprised that there are no South African, Mozambique, Red Sea or other East African dive destinations on your list.

    These are serious ommissions and probably done out of ignorance.

    I would suggest that you come and see for yourself what this part of the world has to offer. You will then be able to properly and professionally venture an opinion.

  3. Thanks for highlighting us Jennifer! We also have a special BLACK WATER DIVE that is unparalleled in the world for experienced divers only. We also have some of the Best freediving in the world with some of the best freedivers ever living and visiting here on regular occasion.

    Mahalo,
    Byron Kay
    Owner, Kona Honu Divers/Kona Freedivers

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